How to Build a Flower Bed on a Hill


Planting a flower bed in your yard can add splashes of color and provide a way to break up the monotony of an otherwise ordinary lawn. Proper preparation of the soil can help ensure that your flowers thrive after you plant them. If you're building the flower bed on a slope, you can prevent erosion problems by terracing the bed. Building a small retaining wall in front of the bed will keep the soil stable.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray paint
  • Concrete paver stones
  • Shovel
  • Tamp
  • Crushed limestone
  • Rubber mallet
  • Level
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Drainage aggregate
  • Drain tile
  • Wet saw
  • Safety goggles
  • Ear protection
  • Masonry adhesive
  • Sod cutter
  • Mechanical tiller
  • Topsoil
  • Compost
  • Spray paint the ground to mark the perimeter of the bed.

  • Lay concrete paver stones on the ground at the foot of the hill. Spray paint two lines around the stones, one line 3 inches in front of the stones, and a second one 8 inches behind the stones.

  • Lift the stones off the ground and dig a 12-inch-deep trench between the two lines. Tamp the soil to compact it, then cover it with a layer of crushed limestone 3 inches deep. Tamp it down, then pour 3 more inches of limestone into the front side of the trench. You want to leave the back 6 inches of the trench lower so you have room for a drainage pipe.

  • Lay the stones into the trench, setting them back about 3 inches from the front of the trench. Check the first stone for level after you set it, tapping it down with a rubber mallet if needed. Set the other stones so that they're level with the first stone. One way to do this is to lay a level across the first two stones, adjusting it so that it's level with the first stone, and repeating this process the length of the wall.

  • Slope the crushed limestone in the drainage area slightly down toward the area where you want to direct the water.

  • Cover the back side of the trench with landscaping fabric, then cover it with an inch-deep layer of drainage aggregate.

  • Cover drain tile with landscaping fabric, and lay it in the back of the trench. Drain tile is plastic pipe with holes in it that allows water to flow through it.

  • Cut a paver stone in half with a wet saw, then place it on the end of the first row of stones, attaching it with masonry adhesive. Cutting it in half allows you to stagger the stones in each row, which makes the wall stronger. Lay the second course of stones, setting them about a half-inch back from the first row, and attaching them to the first course with the masonry adhesive.

  • Lay the third course of stones, keeping them staggered from the stones in the second row, and setting them back a 1/2 inch.

  • Remove the sod on the hill behind the wall by running over it with a sod cutter and clearing the sod.

  • Till the sod behind the wall to a depth of 6 inches with a mechanical tiller.

  • Pour 6 inches of drainage aggregate over the drain tile, then cover the aggregate with landscaping fabric.

  • Mix together topsoil and compost in a 50-50 mix, then cover the soil behind the wall with a 4-inch layer of the mix.

  • Run over the soil with the mechanical tiller again to mix the topsoil/compost mix into the soil. Set the tiller to a depth of 6 inches.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear safety goggles and ear protection when using the wet saw.

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  • Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images
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